The Vols vs. Fordham University

#24, Salera Jordan sprints up the field during the game against Fordham University at Regal Stadium on August 22, 2019.

The Lady Vols are looking for more.

After picking up its first SEC win of the year on Sunday, Tennessee (7-4-1) will host the Georgia Bulldogs (5-5-2) on Thursday night in Knoxville.

Georgia has had one of the most prolific offenses in the SEC thus far. They average 14.5 shots per game and 1.67 goals per game. They are 1-2-1 in conference this year.

They come in led by freshman forward Chloe Chapman. Chapman has scored five goals in the season, and two games with multiple goals. Junior forward Regan Glisson also has three goals in the year, and at least one shot on goal in every game but one.

Tennessee and Georgia share some characteristics. Both teams feature a well-rounded roster. Georgia has had 11 different players score a goal this year; Tennessee has had 10.

The Lady Vols come into the match with 21 goals and 13.9 shots per game. They average 1.75 goals per game. The Volunteers found their first SEC win against Kentucky last Sunday.

They are led by MA Vignola, who has six goals in the year. Vignola is one of the few resident seniors on the Lady Vols team. She has also totaled 15 points, 41 shots and 20 shots on goal, all team highs.

Georgia, like Tennessee, has only been able to find one conference win thus far. They find their lone SEC win from Missouri, after scoring five goals in route to an impressive 5-1 win.

“They had a massive win last weekend at Missouri,” head coach Brian Pensky said. “I think they won a lot of challenges. They were very physical I think against Vanderbilt, and they’re going to be a physical team.”

The Lady Vols have also been a very physical team this year. Coach Pensky highlighted senior midfielder Katie Cousins as one of the most physical on the team.

“We have to take that next step,” Pensky said. “Katie Cousins, even though she’s only five feet tall, she’s a big part. She’s one of the best players in the air, probably one of the best players in the air in this league.”

Cousins is also dealing with a small injury that has kept her in games for limited minutes. She saw about 35 to 40 minutes against Kentucky, including a close shot just left of the goal.

Since starting SEC play, Tennessee has faced multiple injuries. Senior Salera Jordan and junior Wrenne French are out for the season with torn ACLs, and freshman Alicia Donley is out for multiple weeks with torn ligaments in her ankle. Coach Pensky did not rule out an eventual return.

Despite the heavy amount of injuries to their offense, Tennessee’s defense has been a bright spot for them this season. Freshman goalkeeper Lindsey Romig had a career-high eight saves against Alabama, and continues to shine when her team needs her the most.

Senior defender Maya Neal has also been a cornerstone of the defense. She brought a shovel to practice after their loss to Alabama with a simple message: “Bury the Past.”

“Definitely the monkey coming off our back,” Neal said of her team’s first SEC win. “Win by win; we have to start 0-0 again next game.”

Tennessee looked like its former selves again in their win over Kentucky, with 13 total shots and forcing a shutout. They will look to keep their momentum rolling into Thursday’s matchup with Georgia, as they host the Bulldogs in Regal Stadium. Kickoff is set for 7 p.m.

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